Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee released the following statement today on the rocket attacks by Hamas against Israel and the threat of escalating violence in the region:
"Israel, like all sovereign nations, has a fundamental duty to its citizens to defend their lives and their property. For years now, Israel has endured thousands of rocket attacks by Hamas from the Gaza Strip. These attacks have targeted civilian areas throughout Southern Israel - and today even reached as far north as the outskirts of Tel Aviv. As long as this terrorist organization continues to avoid disarming, abiding by past agreements, or recognizing Israel's right to exist, it will continue to be isolated by the international community and be the cause of further hardship for the Palestinian civilians who suffer at its hands.
"Innocent people on both sides of the conflict are being killed. I urge all parties to exercise strong caution so as to avoid an escalation that would only lead to further violence, destruction, and loss of life. I also call on those countries with a leading role to play in the region to work toward a peaceful resolution to these events. Only when Hamas stops this violence, reaffirms prior agreements, and recognizes Israel's right to exist will we be any closer to a just and lasting peace: one in which the Palestinian and Israeli peoples can live, securely, side by side."